Words John Gray
Some of the most stunning churches are located on the Mediterranean coast. They range from grand cathedrals to small, intimate churches. Whether having the shimmering Mediterranean Sea as a direct backdrop or being just a short distance from the coast, these places of worship have a uniqueness and beauty all their own.
Church of Santa Maria – Cadaques (Catalonia), Spain
Located in the heart of the old section of Cadaques, this 16th century Gothic-style church is pure-white simplicity on the outside, which is a stark contrast to its lavish and ornate interior. The church also holds the most important 18th century baroque altarpiece, which is a remarkable piece of gilded wood iconography.
The Anastasis Church of Oia – Santorini, Greece
The whitewashed church with the striking blue dome beautifully stands out along the coast of Santorini. There are actually nearly 70 churches in this small region. People used to build churches in order to ensure that God would favor them with safe journeys. In particular, the relatives of the sailors and the captains promised to erect a church to a saint so that their loved ones would come back safe. Consequently, most of these churches are privately owned, being inherited by the ancestors of each family.
Amalfi Cathedral – Amalfi, Italy
The Amalfi Cathedral is home to the relics of Sant’Andrea (St. Andrew) who is the patron saint and protector of Amalfi. Located on top of a sweeping flight of stairs, the impressive cathedral features a Sicilian Arabic-Norman style architecture that dates back to the 10th century. Its huge bronze doors were actually made in Constantinople (Turkey) around 1060 by Symeon of Syria and shipped to Amalfi.
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela – Galicia, Spain
The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is one of the most important shrines in Christianity, as it is said to be the final resting place of Saint James the Greater, one of the 12 Apostles. According to historians, James brought the new Christian message of love, hope, and brotherhood to the Iberian Peninsula after Jesus’s death. The Way of St. James was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during the Middle Ages (often referred as the road to Santiago).
Saydet al Bahr – Batroun, Lebanon
No visit to Batroun is complete without seeing the majestic Lady of the Sea church. Strategically located, it was built on the ruins of a Byzantine church in the 19th century. The beautiful Greek Orthodox Church is adjacent to the beach near the Phoenician Marine Wall (a 225-meter long maritime structure that the Phoenicians carved into rocks in the sea). The church houses golden icons made by Isaac of Jerusalem in 1863.
Santa Maria Assunta, Positano, Italy
The church of Santa Maria Assunta sits right in the heart of the gorgeous seaside village of Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Perched on the hillside next to colorful villas stacked on top of one another, the church is a mere stone’s throw away from the Marina Grande beach, which it overlooks. It plays an important role in Positano’s cultural, religious, and architectural landscape, and is one of the town’s iconic symbols, with its colorful majolica tiled dome.
Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Portals – Mallorca, Spain
The largest of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca is part of Spain but has a more rugged and dramatic landscape than the rest of the country. This beautiful seaside church is nestled in the beautiful village of Calva in the west of Palma de Mallorca. No doubt this place of worship, overlooking the emerald waters with breathtaking views, would be an ideal venue for an intimate wedding during the summer months.